For Norwich Guidon staff, an eventful year

The 2013-2014 Guidon staff (from left to right): Jacob DeHaven, Liam Carroll, Thomas Carson, Jenn Passalacqua, Seamus Delehanty. (Front): Editor-in-chief Arielle Eaton. (Missing): Mitch Pryzbocki, Allen Ramsay, Nick Toscano.

The 2013-2014 Guidon staff (from left to right): Jacob DeHaven, Liam Carroll, Thomas Carson, Jenn Passalacqua, Seamus Delehanty. (Front): Editor-in-chief Arielle Eaton. (Missing): Mitch Pryzbocki, Allen Ramsay, Nick Toscano.

For generations, the routine way of reading the newspaper was sitting down at the breakfast table with a coffee to start the day, flipping through the pages one by one to find out what’s going on in the community, sports, or the world.

Like many traditions that have lasted for decades, however, fewer people are reading the morning paper, turning instead to myriad online sources, during work, during family time, or when they cannot sleep to read blogs, magazines, virtual newspapers, or watch TV broadcasts. The Internet is taking over more and more when it comes to the news, leaving fewer printed newspapers that people turn to, from big brand names such as The Boston Globe or local papers like the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus.

Norwich has long had a tradition of publishing The Guidon, which is why the students of NU can still expect to receive a printed campus paper twice a month, filled with articles written by the students for the students. The Guidon, like most newspapers, also has an online presence now, maintained by the Guidon staff and a Facebook page.

The Guidon has been at NU since before the first World War and is a teaching tool for communication majors to learn how to be a journalist, an editor, do layout and production, as well as keep the school updated on what is buzzing in our small community.

Though The Guidon has had a long history and covered many controversies, this year had quite a few highlights, according to Guidon Editor-in-Chief Arielle Eaton, 21, a senior communications major and criminal justice minor from Columbus, Georgia.

“We’ve definitely been through a lot,” she said, reflecting on an eventful year.

One of the biggest highlights of the year was “getting the support from the administration” when the Nov. 12 issue of the newspaper was briefly withheld from distribution because of a few complaints. “The one issue was appealed for a couple of our controversial stories,” the first time that has ever happened in the history of the Guidon, she said.

Norwich President Richard Schneider made sure that all of the issues were put back out as soon as he heard of the incident, according to Eaton. “It was a tragedy and then it was a highlight,” she said.

Not only have stories become more controversial at times, but Eaton said many little things changed over the past couple of years as the paper evolves. “We’ve done a lot this year as far as changing our story style, how we publish, what we publish, and there’s been little things here and there like some of the headlines we’ve tried out and some of the layout designs,” Eaton said.

“Little things like that kind of add up to this year being one huge highlight for the Guidon,” she said. Among the changes has been modernizing the Masthead – the title and logo of the paper – “the layouts and the types of stories we’ve put out,” which she said were done to help add a new look to the Guidon.

“This year, along with the bigger readership, is much different internally than last year,” said Thomas Carson, 21, of Winthrop, Maine, a senior communications major and the head layout editor for the Guidon and its chief photographer. “We are using different techniques and layout styles to enhance the look and read of the paper.”

“Essentially we are modernizing it while keeping it traditional,” he said

Carson agreed that the highlights of this year were the readership and the more controversial stories that were written.

“In years past, The Guidon didn’t publish more controversial issues and topics, but as a learning platform for communications majors, it was a good experience because in the real world we would end up publishing touchy stories.”

“We aren’t afraid to publish stories that expose flaws or highlight the underdog,” he said. “We are a paper for the students, by the students.”

“We’re trying to move forward with the students and grow with the students as we progress into a more modernized era,” Eaton said. It has been one of Eaton’s personal highlights to notice more people actually reading the paper, rather than discarding them immediately.

She also said that she think it means a lot for the students to get something in paper form in their mailbox, especially for students who rarely get any mail. “When you get something in your mailbox, it’s a little more special (and) while it seems kind of dumb, I’ve actually heard people say that,” Eaton said.

Eaton also thinks having a printed version of the Guidon keeps with the tradition theme that Norwich is all about. “This is a tradition and having an actual newspaper is a tradition,” she said.

“Learning how people react to them firsthand was definitely an eye opener and a great learning tool,” Carson said. He thinks that the readership has improved this year and cites as evidence the compliments as well as questions that are being asked by the public about The Guidon.

“Even with the hot water issues and the recall on our paper, we have a greater readership and we get the campus talking (which is what a newspaper is suppose to do),” Carson said.

“It’s great to know that the student body is reading us more and is actually looking forward to the next issue,” he said.

However others seem to think that the readership of the Guidon has declined. “I think more people are throwing it out just because I think, it’s a generation thing and they don’t care,” said Mitch Przybocki, 21, a senior communications major and a sports editor of the Guidon from Pinebush, N.Y.

“I think honestly these people read their back home newspaper when they are home because they’re interested in what’s going on,” said Przybocki. “The students who are actually interested in what’s going on here still read the Guidon (and) I think our more intelligent students who are actually more aware, politically sound, and socially aware read the Guidon.”

Seamus Delehanty, a freshman psychology major from Chicago, Illinois who will be on the layout staff for next year, said there was a lot of change to the paper this year.

“I think we changed the paper, like it wasn’t just something,” that people walked by but actually “looked forward to” when it came out every other week, he said.

Other staff members do not agree with either Eaton or Delehanty and think this has been a difficult year for The Guidon because reporters were not producing as many stories.

“I think this year was sort of a down year for us,” said Przybocki. “I think The Guidon was better in past years.”

Unlike at many other colleges where the newspaper is an extra-curricular organization or independent entity, most stories for The Guidon are written by reporters as part of an academic course in journalism, Communications 207 and 208. When reporters fail to produce assigned stories, The Guidon suffers.

Przybocki did however find a few highlights. “Our layout staff was able to work with a lot of nothing because we were getting shorter quantities of stories.”

“Tom Carson and his crew have been able to put together a pretty decent newspaper while having very little to work with because the stories that come in from a lot of the journalists are shorter this year than they were in the past years,” said Przybocki.

The most-read story in Eaton’s opinion was “Cadet Sgt. Maj. Coston reflects on dismissal, defends approach to improving Corps,” referring to the speech that Matthew Coston, a 21 year-old senior criminal justice major from Boston, Mass., made at recognition. He was then relieved of his duties. Comments are still made on the Guidon web page from both current students and alumni about the story, according to Eaton.

“It was a great story and the reporter did a great job with it,” Eaton said. “Our most well-read stories coincide with what they student interests are,” she said.

Przybocki said the “juicy” Coston story was successful because people like to talk about it, and in journalism reporters are taught that news is whatever people are talking about.

The latest story to draw a lot of comment was published in the issue before this one and focused on fraternization rules and how they affect and impact the corps, Eaton said. Another couple of stories that were talked about the most this year were one looking at the unsavory phenomenon of the “McGangbang” sandwich, and an article on male promiscuity at Norwich, both of which were cited as causes in the brief decision to pull the Guidon from distribution, Eaton said.

“We did do a counter-article on female promiscuity that I hope was as widely read as the predecessor,” she said.

“Obviously the male promiscuity story and the McGangbang,” were widely read this year, judging by the uproar it caused, Delehanty agreed. “That was probably the best issue of the year, in my opinion,” Delehanty said, “That was a game-changer.”

Przybocki agreed with Eaton that digging into the fraternization issue, despite its potential controversy, was an accomplishment. “The tale needed to be told (and) that’s what the whole corps was talking about all year,” he said. He said the story was covered well by reporter Lindsay Evans and the fact that she was a civilian was an important factor of how she was able to get information in order to write this particular story.

The promiscuity stories really showcased how the Guidon takes freedom of speech seriously, and that it has the support of the administration on campus, such as President Schneider, according to Przybocki. Since Schneider is so open when it comes to freedom of speech and press at Norwich with the Guidon, Przybocki said, “It’s a good nursery to develop future journalists to learn how to tackle tough issues.”

Carson said the McGangbang, fraternization, Coston, and male promiscuity stories were all the most talked about ones this year, just as all of the other Guidon staff members believe. “These are the ones that landed us in some hot water.”

Liam Carroll, 19, is a freshman political science major from Hudson, Mass. who joined the staff as an editor and doubled as a reporter for the Guidon. “The McGangbang issue and the (male promiscuity) story, that was a huge huge thing and the follow up (story) from that,” he said.

“Those were all very big,” Carroll said. He said that up until that point, he thought the Guidon had been lacking in their stories, while Eaton had a different opinion.

“We try to have something big in each issue,” Eaton said. “Those are probably some of our top ones that I could think of.”

“We did some spicy issues that got people coming back for more,” Delehanty said. “We got publicity which is really good; I think we made a name for ourselves.”

Students on campus asked about The Guidon seemed to agree with the staff on the fact the newspaper has had an impact this year.

Ben Fertich, 20, a sophomore accounting and finance major from Gettysburg, Pa., said, “I think it has improved quite a bit recently it actually has some value to the school, however there still appears to be a lack of readers.”

Another sophomore was in agreement with Fertich. “Personally I enjoy the Guidon,” said Derek Wilcox, 19, a psychology major from Broadalbin, N.Y.

“I like going into my mail box on Fridays and having it in there,” he said. “It keeps me up to date on events that I may have missed, and also gives the facts on stories that circulate through the rumor mill,” he said. Wilcox also sees the need of reporting for The Guidon for the communication majors and how it helps prepare them for future careers with hands-on experience.

Brian Betzu, 21, a senior studies of war and peace major from Staten Island, N.Y., said “It does a service to the student body, Cadets and civilians, to inform them of what has, is, and will happen.”

“It is a nice gesture that we get in the mail every month or so, but its presence or notoriety is still under appreciated in a sense,” he said. “Whether it is due to the somewhat apathetic attitude for it by students or its unrealized potential I am not fully sure, but I do know that while it is not essential, it is useful.”

Still, not everyone finds the need for a campus newspaper like The Guidon.

“I usually skim over it when I get it,” said Caleb Wright, 19, a sophomore business and management major from Milford, N.H. “It might be related to me not reading the news that much, since I don’t have that much interest.”

William Kemp, 20, a studies of war and peace major from Jupiter, Fla. said that he only reads the paper because he has a few friends who work for it.

As the year comes to an end, the seniors on the staff are passing the reigns over to new staff members, and they have some last words for their faithful readers.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege this year to be Editor-in-Chief of the Guidon,” said Eaton. “It’s been an outstanding year, we’ve faced a lot of trials and tribulations, I think more so than I’ve seen any other editor face with The Guidon.”

“We’ve branched out, we’ve reached out more, (and) I am really proud of the reporters who have stuck through with it,” she said. Eaton also thanks her staff for the many long nights spent on putting the Guidon together.

“The Guidon is definitely something that can always be improved, but it shouldn’t go away,” Przybocki said. “It’s been apart of Norwich for you know, 90 years, and it is a student-run newspaper with a lot of benefits,” he said.

“Working on The Guidon these past three years have been great,” Carson said. “ I couldn’t have asked for a better learning tool and platform.”

“The people I’ve met, the events I’ve covered, and the stress the paper put me through will be something I will hold on to for the rest of my life,” he said.

The Guidon staff thanks all of their readers for their support this year and for many more years to come. If you have any story ideas for next year, do not be afraid to share them with us, we encourage reader interaction.

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